Radio host Steve Deace and right-wing pundit-activist Erick Erickson, two of the dwindling group of conservative Christian never-Trumpers, spoke on Deace’s radio show today about a recent Erickson column called “Reconsidering My Opposition to Trump.”
In spite of the column’s title, Erickson uses the colum to reaffirm his unwillingness to vote for Trump, whose campaign he calls un-American. He writes that he sees Trump “corrupting the virtuous and fostering hatred, racism, and dangerous strains of nationalism.” (He also says, for the benefit of those who accuse him of being pro-Clinton, that he believes her campaign is anti-American.)
That I see so many Christians justifying Donald Trump’s immorality, defining deviancy down, and turning to anger and despondency about the future tells me I cannot in good faith support Donald Trump because his victory would have lasting, damaging consequences for Christianity in America. We harm our witness and the testimony of the strength of our Lord by embracing the immoral, unrepentant strong man. We harm our American virtue by buying into the idea that one man can make America great again. Further, we risk losing Donald Trump’s soul for the sake of our selfishness.
Erickson also slams Wayne Grudem for trying to justify support for Trump after having written in 2012 that if evangelicals didn’t support Romney, they would end up with Rudy Giuliani, “a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights candidate who is on his third marriage and had a messy affair prior to his divorce from his second wife. Then we will lose any high moral ground and the enthusiasm of the evangelical vote.” Asks Erickson, “How now can Grudem advance his witness to questioning unbelievers? He now praises an unrepentant man both guilty of and proud of the very sins he attacked Giuliani for.”
In response to a question from Deace about conservative fear-mongering about the consequences of the election—that the country could not survive a Clinton presidency—Erickson noted the same was said about Obama. Erickson says he tries not to demonize his opponents, saying that while he believes Hillary Clinton should be in jail, “she’s no Vladimir Putin.”
“This election is not the end of the world,” said Erickson, adding that the question that people will be asking the day after the election will be “who sold their soul and who didn’t?”
When Deace asked what his vocal opposition to Trump has cost him, Erickson said his radio show has lost advertisers, his kids have been yelled at in the grocery store, and he has had to hire armed guards to protect his house.
As we noted yesterday, conservative Catholic activist Joseph Cella, a member of Donald Trump’s new Catholic advisory committee and reportedly the new “chief liaison to the campaign for Catholic affairs,” joined other Catholic conservatives earlier this year in denouncing Trump as “manifestly unfit to be president of the United States.”
Cella appeared on Ave Maria radio yesterday afternoon and told host Al Kresta that he is now “happily” supporting Trump. When Kresta asked what had changed since the “manifestly unfit” statement, Cella said he has had a “sincere change of heart and mind.” Trump, he said, had convened some Catholic leaders in June to “listen and learn.” He said Catholic voters are coalescing around Trump and predicted that trend will continue.
Cella praised Trump’s public commitment to nominating conservative Supreme Court justices in the mold of the “great Catholic jurist and thinker” Antonin Scalia. Clinton, he said, would do the opposite, and with the next president likely having the opportunity to fill three to five vacancies, “that alone will have far-reaching and long-lasting implications for the Catholic Church” on issues like religious liberty and health care.
Cella also mentioned Trump’s naming of Religious Right favorite Mike Pence to be his running mate and his “excellent” senior staff—he said the Trump campaign’s top three leaders are Catholic.
As we have noted several times before, American Family Radio's Bryan Fischer has an understanding of the First Amendment that makes absolutely no sense, as he regularly insists that it only applies to Congress ... except for all the times when he insists that it applies to all sorts of government entities.
Fischer's incoherence has been on full display regarding the case of Joe Kennedy, a high school football coach from Washington state who was fired after he refused to stop praying with players and students after games. Despite the fact that Fischer has repeatedly declared that "it is constitutionally and historically impossible for a school to violate the First Amendment ... [b]ecause a school is not Congress," he simultaneously insists that the school district has violated Kennedy's First Amendment rights by not allowing him to pray after games.
"Good for you, coach Joe Kennedy," Fischer declared. "He's taking the district to court for violating his First Amendment rights, which is exactly what they've done ... What does the First Amendment say? It says that Congress—and Bremerton [School District,] they interpret that to mean any governmental authority, that would include schools because they're government schools—is not allowed to prohibit the free exercise of religion. What did Bremerton School District do when they told Joe Kennedy, 'You can't pray at midfield after a game'? They prohibited his free exercise of religion! They told him, 'Your constitutional right—even though this is government property and the government is specifically prohibited from infringing on your free exercise rights—we are going to destroy the First Amendment here, doesn't apply in Bremerton, doesn't apply on a football field, you have lost that right. You have not only lost that right, you have lost your job.'"
Today, Fischer posted a column blasting a report recently released by the United States Commission on Civil Rights that further undermines his argument in the Kennedy case, as he explicitly states that a school district can never be guilty of violating the First Amendment:
The very first word in the First Amendment is “Congress.” The First Amendment was intended as a restraint on Congress and Congress alone. It is simply impossible for any other entity - be it a state, a county, a city, a school district, a school teacher, or a student - to violate the First Amendment for the simple reason that it wasn’t written to restrain them.
Only Congress can violate the Founders’ Constitution, and it can do so in only two ways. First, it can violate the Establishment Clause by picking one Christian denomination and making it the official church of the United States. As long as Congress doesn’t do that, it can do anything it wants with regard to religious expression. It can pay a chaplain to pray Christian prayers and proclaim as many national days of prayer as it would like.
States under the Founders’ Constitution are free to regulate religious expression in any way they would like without any interference from the federal government. States can even have an established religion if they want to, and at the time of the Founding, 10 of them did.
Secondly, only Congress can violate the Free Exercise clause because it applies specifically and exclusively to Congress. Congress - and by extension the entire federal government, including the judiciary - is flatly prohibited from interfering with the free exercise of the Christian religion in any way, shape or form. Any such effort on the part of any branch of the federal government, whether it’s the legislative branch, the executive branch, or the judicial branch, is flatly and permanently forbidden by the Founders’ Constitution.
The federal government has zero authority to tell schools what they may and may not do with regard to Bible reading in classrooms, prayer at assemblies and graduation ceremonies, or the posting of the Ten Commandments on school room walls. Those matters are for state and local authorities to decide. Period.
Just last month, Fischer accused the Bremerton School District of violating the First Amendment, but today, he stated that it is "impossible" for a school district to ever violate the First Amendment.
Unless Fischer is arguing that he believes that local public schools are also "Congress," then his argument makes no sense, especially since he asserts in his latest piece that states are "free to regulate religious expression in any way they would like."
Under Fischer's own argument, any state would be free to prohibit Kennedy or anyone else from exercising their religion for any reason, or, for that matter, to restrict the freedom of speech, freedom of the press or the right to peaceably assemble, which are also protected by the First Amendment.
Fischer's outrage over the Kennedy case proves that he clearly does't believe, or possibly doesn't even understand, his own stated position.
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., had an unusual take yesterday on recent protests around the police shootings of African-American men in North Carolina and Oklahoma, saying that while Black Lives Matter is made up of “radical groups” and “confused people,” the real “institutional racism” is policies that removed government-sponsored religious teaching from public schools.
Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks asked Brat yesterday, “Help me understand, what is Black Lives Matter rioting about in Charlotte?”
“Well, that’s just sub-groups,” Brat responded, “some of these radical groups that are funded out of George Soros’ pot of money and just some confused people.”
In contrast, he said, he recently visited a prison and met with former heroin addicts who told him that they wanted him to “get the Bible back in the classroom and religion back in the classroom so my kids and grandkids don’t end up like me.” Because of the lack of religious instruction, he said, these men were “never taught what was good and bad in life in the public school system.”
“The Democrat policy in education is holding back an entire generation from being successful,” he said, “and then you end up with this racial system when your school system … [is] teaching them about isosceles triangles but we’re not giving them any hope.”
“There is institutional racism,” Brat told Fredericks, “and if Obama and Hillary want to talk about institutionalized racism, I just mentioned the source of it. It’s their own policies. that’s where the institutional racism is, right? When you don’t tell people what is ethically good and bad, right, if you cannot even define what a morally good life is anymore and you block the Bible and you block the Judeo-Christian tradition and you block the Baptist church, which is fundamental in the African-American community, from being the voice of power and the only hope you give is a broken federal system of government …”
He added that since Martin Luther King Jr., we haven’t had “any nationally prominent philosophers or theologians out there promoting the Judeo-Christian tradition in the African-American community and across the board in education.”
The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown has been attempting to mobilize U.S. support for activists in Mexico who are trying to stop President Enrique Peña Nieto from putting marriage equality into the country’s constitution.
Today, NOM hosted a rally in front of the Mexican embassy in Washington, D.C., along with the World Congress of Families, which Brown also now leads, and CitizenGo, an international petition platform whose board Brown sits on.
The rally drew a grand total of 11 people, not counting a handful of children in strollers, bystanders and reporters:
Brown, who has said he is traveling to Mexico City for anti-marriage-equality marches there this weekend, was not in attendance. One activist who was there was Gualberto Garcia Jones, a fetal “personhood” advocate who now runs an organization called the International Human Rights Group, which shares a Washington office with Brown’s CitizenGo.
At the rally, activists read a letter that they said they were delivering to the Mexican ambassador announcing that they were joining “in spirit” the protests this weekend led by the National Front for the Family.
The letter stated the group’s support for “natural marriage as a stable relationship between one man and one woman,” saying that “several scientific research studies” have shown that this is the best environment for children. It claimed that “extracting marriage from its procreative and educative purpose … weakens the legal, social and cultural fabric” of a society. The letter also included a reference to adoption by gay couples and a plea to keep “content and ideologies that do not belong to the public educative sphere” out of school curricula, instead demanding that curricula be based on “scientific criteria.”
Right-wing activist Jesse Lee Peterson recently delivered a sermon in which he warned his congregation not to become intellectuals because intellectualism is responsible for foisting things like gay marriage upon America.
"I notice that the people who are really into the intellect are nutcases," Peterson said. "Absolute nutcases. Because of this intellectual thing taking over and the people rule us, we now have so-called same-sex marriage. That wouldn't happen if we weren't into the intellect. Common sense would dictate that is not going to happen and common sense wouldn't care what you thought about it because we would know that that's wrong."
Intellectuals are also responsible for the fact that "we now have drag queens running around in the military," Peterson added.
"Can you imagine jumping down in a foxhole, running from bin Laden, and there is a man in there with a dress and lipstick on? It would shock you. You would rather be out with bin Laden," Peterson stated, apparently so dedicated to being anti-intellectual that he's totally unaware that Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
People simply need to rely "on the intellect of God," he recommended, because human intellect is a tool of the devil, which is why "all intellectual people are insecure people ... because their father is weak, their father Satan is a deceiver."
People:Jesse Lee Peterson
According to news reports, Donald Trump is set to release today more names of individuals whom he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if elected, a key part of his strategy to win over the Religious Right and the conservative establishment.
The new list includes Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who, as Peter noted earlier this year, is not only a staunch social conservative but also believes that large parts of the federal social safety net are unconstitutional:
Lee dismisses Supreme Court rulings upholding a women’s right to abortion . He called the court’s marriage equality ruling a “breathtaking presumption of power.” People For the American Way noted in a 2010 report that Lee “has denounced as ‘domestic enemies’ those who disagree with his radically limited view” of the Constitution.
Here are a few things that Sen. Mike Lee believes are unconstitutional for the federal government to be engaged in:
Lee also has some ideas about how he’d like to change the Constitution. We wrote when Lee was running for Senate in the Tea Party wave of 2010:
He wants to eliminate capital gains taxes and make the current tax system more regressive – more reliant on lower income taxpayers – and says his favorite approach to taxation would actually be to repeal the 16th amendment altogether, strip the federal government of the power to tax income, and leave it to the states to determine how they would tax their own citizens to pay for the limited federal government that would be left.
He’s a constitutional lawyer who’d like to make lots of changes to the Constitution: he has said he supports repeal of the 17th Amendment, which calls for popular election of U S Senators; he wants to "clarify" the 14th Amendment through legislation to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. to parents who are not citizens or legal residents; he wants to amend the Constitution to require a balanced federal budget and to impose congressional term limits.
Other names on Trump’s expanded list are also sure to please those who are hoping to radically reshape American law.
The Trump campaign’s statement boasts that one potential pick, Michigan Chief Justice Robert Young, is part of a court majority that has “embraced originalism and led what one scholar described as a ‘textualism revolution.’” The article in question notes that much of the Michigan majority’s philosophy draws on the arguments of the late Justice Antonin Scalia (while differing with Scalia in some ways).
In 2007, Young wrote a majority opinion upholding Michigan’s voter ID law, writing that it was a “reasonable, nondiscriminatory restriction designed to preserve the purity of elections and to prevent abuses of the electoral franchise."
The new list also includes Charles Canady, a Florida Supreme Court justice who served four terms as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1990s. In the House, Canady was the first to introduce the so-called ban on “partial-birth” abortion, a term that had been newly coined by anti-choice activists to stir up opposition to a specific abortion procedure and prompt a legal challenge to undermine Roe v. Wade.
Also on Trump’s list is Timothy Tymkovich, the chief judge of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, who wrote that court’s opinion in favor of Hobby Lobby’s attempt to cite religious objections to deny its employees health insurance coverage for contraception. That case later made it to the Supreme Court, resulting in a dramatic reinterpretation of the idea of religious liberty in America.
Trump’s new Supreme Court list is, like his original list released in May, clearly aimed at pacifying social conservatives who want assurance that his federal judges will uphold their policy priorities and by conservative legal groups intent on remaking American law.
- Ryan Lenz @ Hatewatch: Trial Begins for Virginia Businessman Accused of Helping Woman Kidnap Daughter from Former Same-Sex Partner.
- Media Matters: Alex Jones Discusses His Personal Phone Calls With Donald Trump, Plans To Give Him Advice On Snowden Issue.
- Charles Johnson @ LGF: USA Today Columnist/Blogger Glenn Reynolds Suspended by Twitter for Advocating Murder of Protesters.
- Brad Reed @ Raw Story: Ohio Trump campaign chair steps down after her unhinged rant blaming Obama for racism.
- Amanda Marcotte @ Salon: Milo Yiannopoulos show his true colors.
- Chris Joyner @ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Known extremists fan mosque debate.
- Josh Marshall @ TPM: Trump Back To Birtherism After Five Days.
- ALIPAC's William Gheen warns that "the violence you are seeing in many cities is not a phase or just protests, but part of a socialist uprising and overthrow that will organize increasing violence from individuals and groups as election day approaches!"
- David Whitney fumes about laws banning the use of "ex-gay" reparative therapy on minors and court rulings upholding them: "The court has essentially ruled that it is illegal to proclaim repentance to sodomites of a certain age, even if they might want help to rid themselves of that same sex bondage ... So proclaiming repentance has been declared illegal by the Legislature of California as well as by the Federal Circuit Court."
- Erik Rush wants the government to "revoke the citizenship of each and every naturalized Muslim American and deport them to their native countries, save for giving them the opportunity to renounce Islam in order to escape this fate."
- Michele Bachmann says that "we’ve lost our rights to free speech now because of what this one-world-order diversity plan has chosen for us, and we’re just supposed to lie down and take it."
- Finally, FRC prays for North Carolina: "May God give Governor Pat McCrory, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest and the members of the entire North Carolina Legislature extraordinary wisdom, moral strength, courage, and steadfastness to stand and withstand what is nothing less than an onslaught of evil. May God protect his people and America from blind leaders who are destroying our nation from within! May our next president have the understanding, the grace, and the will to undo the evil transformation that has taken place in America during the past eight years. And may God snap millions of blinded men and women out of the delusion that moves them to elect and reelect men and women who advocate these things!"
There’s eating your words, and there’s eating your words. Here are some words about Donald Trump that Joseph Cella, reportedly the new “chief liaison to the campaign for Catholic affairs,” has apparently decided he is willing to choke down:
Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States. His campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country. And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.
Here are a few more:
Mr. Trump’s record and his campaign show us no promise of greatness; they promise only the further degradation of our politics and our culture. We urge our fellow Catholics and all our fellow citizens to reject his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination by supporting a genuinely reformist candidate.
Cella, the founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, was among a group of prominent conservative Catholics who signed an anti-Trump “Appeal to our Fellow Catholics” that was published by National Review during the primary elections. That manifesto was written by Robert George and George Weigel, neither of whom is among the names that have been reported to have joined Trump’s new Catholic advisory council.
In addition to former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, as reported by Philly.com, the campaign’s new Catholic advisory council includes some high profile right-wing activists, among them:
…Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List; Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback; Matt Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union; former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R); U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, Republican of Ohio; Jim Nicholson, former Republican national chairman, secretary of veterans affairs and ambassador to the Vatican; longtime conservative leader Richard Viguerie; and Tom Monaghan of Michigan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and the Ave Maria University.
The Trump campaign also released a letter this month naming Dannenfelser the head of his campaign’s “Pro-Life Coalition.” As Miranda noted last week, Dannenfelser wants to criminalize abortion in America without exception; she called exceptions in the case of rape “abominable.” Dannenfelser also has some word-eating to do; she is on record with some off-message opinions about the candidate she’s now supporting. A letter she and other anti-choice activists signed in January declared that Trump “cannot be trusted” on abortion. And this:
Moreover, as women, we are disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular. He has impugned the dignity of women, most notably Megyn Kelly, he mocked and bullied Carly Fiorina, and has through the years made disparaging public comments to and about many women. Further, Mr. Trump has profited from the exploitation of women in his Atlantic City casino hotel which boasted of the first strip club casino in the country.
America will only be a great nation when we have leaders of strong character who will defend both unborn children and the dignity of women. We cannot trust Donald Trump to do either. Therefore we urge our fellow citizens to support an alternative candidate.
In the recent letter addressed “Dear Pro-Life Leader,” Trump made a number of promises:
I am committed to:
- Nominating pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide.
- Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and reallocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women.
- Making the Hyde Amendment permanent law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions.
Trump urged anti-choice activists to “make this contrast clear in the minds of pro-life voters, especially those in the battleground states” so that “Mike Pence and I can be advocates for the unborn and their mothers every day we are in the White House.”
Former Reagan administration official Faith Whittlesey, a member of the campaign’s Catholic advisory board, reportedly said Trump “will fight for Catholics in defense of life, and their religious liberty” and claimed that Hillary Clinton would threaten “the ability of Christians to fully and freely practice their faith that is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment.”
People:Joseph Cella , Marjorie Dannenfelser , Richard Viguerie , Rick Santorum , Tom Monaghan , Steve Chabot, Matt Schlapp, Frank Keating, Jim Nicholson, Faith Whittlesey, Donald Trump
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